Dr. Mary C. McDonald
To say that the job I was given when I was superintendent of Catholic School for the Memphis Diocese was daunting would be an understatement. One of the assignments I had was to resurrect Catholic education in the inner city of Memphis.
The targeted schools, known as Jubilee Schools, had been closed from a range of eight to nearly 60 years, and there was no money to reopen them. Enter a miracle: a group of amazing philanthropists who invested in providing an outstanding education for children living in poverty in the inner city; foundations who believed in us; a multitude of dedicated educators who worked to bring it to life; and committed volunteers who gave of their time and talent. Very early on a group of six young men approached me with an idea of raising $4,000 a year to provide a scholarship for one of the students. They had young children themselves and wanted to get involved in helping other children. Their mission inspired others who wanted to join with them, and so, the Blue Streak Scholarship Fund seed was planted.
What started with six members has grown to hundreds. The Blue Streak Scholarship Fund Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving inner-city Memphis children the benefit of a Catholic school education. Students receiving Blue Streak scholarships attend Jubilee Schools – schools located in our city’s most challenged ZIP codes. Created by area Catholic school alums as a grassroots project, Blue Streak, in the past 10 years has raised and distributed more than $1 million in scholarships. It is an all-volunteer group, so 100 percent of what is raised goes directly to the scholarships for the children. The membership now represents all sectors of the community. Their mission is to help break the cycle of poverty by investing in children’s education. Their passion is to bring together people of all faiths to create a better future for the less fortunate children of Memphis.
When the Blue Streak Scholarship Fund started in 2003 the group decided to start a “membership” drive to raise money for scholarships. Each year, individuals or families donate $120 to be a “member” of the Blue Streak Scholarship Fund. “These individual and family memberships are very important to the annual commitment that Blue Streak makes to the students in the Jubilee Schools,” said Cindy Dorian, president of Blue Streak.
Dider Aur, a founding member of Blue Streak, and principal of Resurrection Catholic School agrees: “It is a great way to get involved and ensure that Blue Streak and the Jubilee Schools will continue to have an immediate and lasting impact on the children and their families.”
Along with sustaining memberships, the Blue Streak continues to raise scholarships through fundraising events, programs and general donations. One such event is Taste of Jubilee. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Taste of Jubilee will be held April 25 at the Pink Palace Museum beginning at 7 p.m., with more than 20 restaurants serving fine cuisine, and live music with the band Walrus. For more information contact BSSF.net.
Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a National Education Consultant, at 574-2956 or visit mcd-partners.com.